"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
~Harriet Van Horne
The other day Josh and I were taking a drive near an old apartment that we lived in the second year of our marriage. A swarm of memories always encompass me anytime I drive through that part of town. I usually think about my state of mind at that time in life or about the health of my relationships or about the pal-ing around that Asher and I did when he was so very young. But this time, I started thinking about my cooking habits, or more appropriately, the lack thereof. During that time I was adjusting to so many new responsibilities...wife and mother were two gigantic ones that took up most of my effort in living on a day to day basis. It wasn't that I didn't care about what went into my body and that of my new child...I just think that I had this really strong urge to resist the generalization that I was supposed to be the ONE who cared about all of that and who was in charge of the culinary undertaking in our little family. I had this vision of cooking and kitchen work being split equally between my husband and I...and I was going to do everything in my power to create that kind of equality...even if it meant me going on strike from cooking or grocery shopping. It didn't make a whole lot of sense MOST of the time, although I applaud my effort and idealism, I was the one who was at home around dinner time. So, naturally, it became necessary for me to step up to what was becoming increasingly important to me as person...(not just a mother or a woman). That being the empowerment that comes from taking charge over what is ingested by myself and those I care for.
Although we aim to make most of the chores and responsibilities in this home interchangeable between each member...inevitably there is a division that takes place no matter how hard the effort to break it down. I stay at home with my children, and therefore, I am responsible for a large variety of their needs and all of my own. Eating healthy food just happens to be one of them...and my relationship with this understanding has shifted and evolved from those resistant days in our one bedroom apartment. You could say that I have re-claimed the apron.
I now really enjoy cooking. Grocery shopping, not so much, although I suppose it depends on the day. Some days it is the only thing that brings me sanity...walking the aisles by myself, picking the perfect onion...you know, the important things. And for a spirit who winces a bit upon hearing words like "planning" and "schedules"...I have to admit that I have actually come to appreciate the process of constructing a meal plan for the week. I actually almost look forward to it and think of it as a time to dream. From skimming the pages of my beautiful vegetarian cookbooks, to experimenting with my one meat/per week entree...it really is a creative experience.
And the creativity is where it lies for me. I think of cooking as my own built-in time for creation. Life slows down. Aromas fill my home. I am meditative and relaxed (as long as all children are either pre-occupied or happily worn against my chest). I instantly get in touch with my center and I am transported through the whole process. Breaking down raw, whole ingredients and creating something entirely new from the combination and infusion of their components. It really is something wonderful when I just stop and think about it.
Creative love comes in so many delicious forms.